Here is Part 3 of a three part Trip Report about my visit to French Polynesia last May. This part will focus on the last two legs of the flight. Air France 77 from PPT to LAX and American Airlines flight from LAX to MIA in an updated Business Class cabin of one of AA’s 767-300 aircraft.
Our flight to LAX was set for early in the morning, so we flew into PPT the day before and stayed at the Intercontinental Tahiti. It was a great place to stay for the last day in paradise and extremely close to the airport, which was important with an 7:35am departure time for an international flight.
The alarm clock rang at about 4:45am for our pre-schedule 5:30am taxi. I took a quick shower and headed over to the lobby where the hotel provides a free simple breakfast with coffee and other items, crucial for me to wake up this early.
Simple, but complementary, which is not found often in the islands.
We got in our quick taxi ride over to PPT, the ride might have been seven minutes. Pulled up to the international check-in area as the sun began to rise. While I am not an early morning person, there is something I enjoy about getting to the airport this early.
The line for check-in was fairly long, you could tell it would be a full flight to LAX.
What made the line even longer was that Air France had only two counters open for economy, and four counters open for everyone else. We were some of the last 20-25 people to get in line, and we would be in line for at least an hour.
By the time all priority guest were checked in we were about 45mins from scheduled depature time, then the lines moved much quicker as there were now 6 desk open for economy. Nonetheless, we were done with the line, and the sun was already up.
Security and passport control were very quick and easy. There was only one other flight leaving that morning, Air Tahiti Nui to Auckland. The airport is an open air concept, and so is the international departure area, it is small, but sufficient. There is a small café, a few duty free shops, and an opened area for smokers, where you can see part of the planes waiting for their ocean crossings.
I ended up buying a few other items to take home to family as we had some XPF cash to spend, and given the small amount it would not be worth it to convert it. After a little bit of hanging around, and some unorganized lines, boarding began a few minutes delayed.
Of course, one of the best parts about these smaller airports is walking up to the airplane. What a perfect morning it was to cross the Pacific Ocean. Here is the Air France 777-200ER that would take us back. It was the same exact plane from the prior trip to PPT.
Also, the Air Tahiti Nui A340-300 going to AKL, love that plane.
The fairly large engines on the 772, its not an LR or 300ER but still impressive.
We sat down in our economy seats, given it was a daylight flight, the flight was more comfortable, I was able to grab a “preferred” row for some extra money, only $36 for the way back as well. Having only two seats in the row makes a big difference.
Legroom was standard on the flight
Air Tahiti’s ATRs getting ready for the day of flying
As I said it was the same exact plane from Part I of my report, I was seated one row behind my original row on the way to PPT, and the IFE had the same issue giving off very loud noises in that seat, thankfully we were in a different seat. While the screen was old and pretty small the content was not bad, plenty of choices to pick from to stayed entertained on an eight-hour flight; especially a flight that crosses almost no land, just ocean.
You can watch the takeoff from PPT here: https://youtu.be/mj1ZZtu2gwI
Pictures from takeoff:
The Island of Moorea:
About 70-90 minutes after takeoff lunch service started. While it was still breakfast time in PPT, it was lunch time in LAX. I think another hour wait would have been better, but given the early wake up this morning the timing was ok.
Its nice when they hand out menus for economy was well.
I picked the beef option, presentation was standard
The meal was decent for what it is, but even when its not great, there is always something to enjoy while having a meal with this view
As I discussed in part I this flight is an extremely remote flight, maybe one of the more remote routes there are.
After lunch, we settled in for the remaining 6 hours of flight to LAX, the flight was incredibly smooth with perfect weather the whole entire way there.
About 90mins after lunch they passed out some beverages and small snack
I found the service on the return leg to be much better than the leg to PPT.
The Cabin about 3-hours prior to arrival
They also set up a self-service bar in the back of the cabin.
About 90-minutes prior to arrival the flight attendants handed out a snack service, which I found all the items to be tasty.
And soon thereafter we started our decent into LAX.
Landing was normal and it was a quick taxi to our gate at the TBIT
A few shots of the cabin as we left the airplane
Here is the premium economy section of this older 777-200ER
And arrival back into the U.S.
We were staying overnight in L.A. as a connection flight back to MIA that day would have had us on a red-eye flight. I picked the Residence Inn right next to LAX and asked for an airport view room, and boy did I get an airport view!
Give our location I decided to head over to IN-N-OUT for dinner. Airplanes, burgers and fries, it’s a perfect combination.
We would then wake up the next morning and head over to LAX again for our final leg, a business class cabin flight LAX-MIA on an AA 767-300ER
We arrived and were told our flight were be leaving from terminal 6, not the usual terminal 4, so we headed over there and used the Alaska Airlines Board Room lounge for a coffee and something to eat.
The Alaska Airlines pancake maker
The board room has some decent views of the near by gates
After some time there we headed to our gate to board the fairly short 4 hour 30min flight to MIA.
We were delayed a bit as the First Officer on our flight was timed out for the day due to a delay, a replacement first officer was brought to the plane within about 30mins though.
The business class seat on the AA 767. It was a very comfortable seat, and the middle seats are great for two people flying together.
Pre-departure drinks are served, though in plastic cups, makes sense given they want to be able to clear everything quickly.
Plenty of legroom, but as you see no PTV. Samsung tablets are handed out shortly after takeoff for business class passengers.
The control room for the seat
Full blanker and pillows are given to the business class passengers, no amenity kit though.
After takeoff the typical American Airlines meal service followed. This was a lunch flight given its departure time, so the meal service was not a large as on the MIA-LAX leg, but I still enjoyed my meal very much.
First course, duck breast, salad and a great pretzel roll
Main course was crab cakes and they were very good. My wife had a truffle mac n cheese and it was also good. Crab cakes were certainly better though.
Later in the flight, Cookies and ice cream sundaes were served as well.
The flight was fairly uneventful with a few spots of turbulence on the way down to Miami. All in all, the service was good, but you can certainly see a difference between the service on a 2-class flight such as this one, and a 3-class service on the MIA-LAX flight in Part I of my report.
Thanks for reading the report, hope you enjoyed it and the pictures and few videos that came along with it. I highly suggest for anyone who enjoys the water, or just relaxation to take a look into a visit to the French Polynesian Islands. I hope to be back in the coming years.
Until my next report.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)